How To Get From Cancun To Merida

Getting from Cancun to Merida is incredibly easy, and you won’t have trouble finding a suitable way, no matter what your budget or favorite means of transportation is.

Merida is one of the most popular places to visit in Mexico, with beautiful colonial-style buildings and gorgeous churches.

Often considered the most important city in the Yucatan Peninsula, Merida is a great starting point to explore Chichen Itza and other Mayan ruins in Mexico; to visit Mexico’s best cenotes (in fact, some of the most impressive cenotes are located near Merida); and a great place to enjoy Mexican cuisine.

You really should include Merida in your Mexico itinerary!

Looking for the best Cancun to Merida transportation? Continue reading: I have done the trip a bunch of times and can share all the information you need to plan your trip!

Make sure to read my posts The Best Things To Do In Merida.

Merida Monument

The Best Ways Of Getting From Cancun To Merida

Take the ADO bus from Cancun to Merida

One of the best ways to travel between the two cities is to take the ADO bus from Cancun to Merida. Though Mexico may be better known for its colectivos, ADO buses provide a much more comfortable way to get from A to B. Much like a coach or bus in the States or Europe, this is Mexico’s leading bus company.

They offer a professional service, you can book tickets online, and you can opt for different classes – a regular class bus or a first-class (primera) bus from Cancun to Merida. There’s also another service, ADO Platino. This is pretty much an executive-level bus. For the price, you get a blanket, you get food, and you even get a leather seat – for that added luxury, in case you want it.

In Merida, there are multiple bus stations where you may arrive – the main ADO terminal in the city center is at Came, but there’s also one in the Hotel Zone called Fiesta Americana, and in the north of the city there’s Altabrisa. A good tip is to check with your accommodation which of these is closest to where you’re staying before you make the bus journey.

Depending on where you are stopping, the bus to Merida from Cancun takes between four and five hours and travels 305 kilometers (189.5 miles).

Buses are fairly frequent, running every 45 minutes. They depart from the Central Bus Station in Cancun or from Cancun’s airport.

The first Cancun to Merida bus of the day departs from Cancun City at 1:07 am; the last one is at 23:57. This means you can leave (and arrive) basically whenever you want, depending on your schedule, of course.

There are two buses from Cancun Airport to Merida, both leaving at 16:15 pm from Terminal 2: one goes to Merida Altabrisa and the other to Terminal Paseo. They stop at terminals 2 and 4 before making their way to Merida.

The prices of ADO buses go from 616 Mexican Pesos (that’s $36.10 USD) to 938 Pesos ($54.98 USD).

One tip for those looking to take the ADO bus is that if you book it in advance, you can find cheaper rates for the journey – you may pay as little as 414 Mexican Pesos ($24.26 USD).

You can check the timetable of buses that travel from Cancun to Merida on the website of ADO. The site is in Spanish only, but easy to understand.

Merida Cathedral

Drive from Cancun to Merida

If you were wondering, yes – It is possible to drive from Cancun to Merida. It’s possibly the most convenient way to get around – it’s faster, and it’s flexible, meaning you can travel at your own speed (literally). And the drive is along an easy-to-follow, well-maintained highway.

It takes around three hours and 45 minutes to drive it if you go direct; longer if you plan on making some stops.

Renting a car in Cancun is easy. There are plenty of domestic and international chains, both in town and at the airport. It’s great for traveling at your own pace, and it gives you more scope for exploring along the way in case you want to make a detour or two.

If you decide to go the rental route, check out DiscoverCars for affordable options and prices.

It costs between 440 and 1,300 Mexican Pesos (between $26 and $75 USD) per day for a car rental in this part of Mexico – that’s for a medium-sized car (four-door sedan). The longer you rent it, the cheaper it will be. And if you book further in advance than your arrival in Cancun, you will probably get a discount.

Make sure that the car rental company you are using is trustworthy or reputable – watch out for any scams relating to insurance or damage to the car on your return.

Also, make sure you take photos or a video of the car before you leave, pointing out existing damage to the staff member. The best option, however, would be to go with a globally recognized franchise.

Make sure to read my posts A Complete Guide To Driving In Mexico and A Guide To Renting A Car In Mexico.

Take a private shuttle from Cancun to Merida

If you don’t like driving or just don’t want to, but you still would like to get to Cancun in a quick and flexible manner, it’s possible to get a private transfer. Hiring a driver in Cancun offers up convenience and speed – they’ll handle your luggage, pick you up from your accommodation, and drop you off exactly where you need to be.

There’s no fussing with rental car companies or the stress of driving to Merida from Cancun yourself. And there’s zero hassle with working out how to get from the bus terminal to where you’re staying in Merida.

The only thing about the private transfer is that you pay for the convenience. It’s not exactly the cheapest travel option in Mexico.

For example, a private transfer in a minivan with your own driver will cost around 6,500 Mexican Pesos (around $380 USD). While it’s expensive for a solo traveler, it isn’t so bad with a larger group – say there are nine of you (fitting in the minivan perfectly) – it becomes much more affordable.

There’s a load of different options when it comes to private transfer companies in Cancun. Even though it initially seems the most convenient option, all the different companies and choices can make your head spin.

The best thing to do is to go with the most reputable company, making sure that you read reviews beforehand. Most vehicles should usually have AC, and seatbelts, be fairly new, be in good shape, and be insured. Good companies will even have bilingual staff, as well. You could even opt to stop off and see sights along the way, too.

You can book your private transfer from Cancun Airport to Merida via Welcome Pickups here.

Paseo de Montejo

Take an Uber to Merida from Cancun

Uber was legalized in Quintana Roo and the Cancun region almost a year ago. However, there have been a lot of problems with Uber in Cancun since then.

Immediately after the legalization, taxi drivers carried out large-scale airport blockades in protest of Uber and the new law. And unfortunately, they’ve taken it even further with more acts of aggression and violence against possible Uber drivers. In the summer of 2023, taxi drivers smashed the window of a vehicle in Cancun, thinking it was an Uber.

As of now, it’s best to completely avoid Uber in Cancun or Uber from the Cancun International Airport until things start to clear up.

things to do in Merida Mexico

Flights from Cancun to Merida

And then, of course, there’s flying. If you’re flying into this part of Mexico, it’s highly likely you’ll be flying into Cancun International Airport. But if your final destination is Merida, then you’re in luck – you can simply hop on a flight without having to go into Cancun to seek out transport for onward travel.

Flying is by far the quickest way to travel between Cancun and Merida. Flights between these two destinations are run by MAYAir, and they depart once per day from Monday to Friday. The only other option in terms of flying is taking a connecting flight via Mexico City, which may be cheaper than a direct flight, but it doesn’t make sense as it takes longer than driving to Merida from Cancun.

You can book flights online. Using a service like Skyscanner may yield better results and good deals, especially if you are looking for a flight well in advance of your planned trip – last-minute flights can also be cheaper too.

All in all, however, flying to Merida from Cancun doesn’t make much sense since it’s so easy and much more budget-friendly to simply drive there or take the Cancun to Merida bus!

MAYAir generally doesn’t show up on certain search engines, like Google Flights. Make sure when you search you’re specifically looking for MAYAir flights. Otherwise, you’ll just find all the non-direct flights.

Chichen Itza Mexico
Chichen Itza is a great place to stop on the drive to Merida from Cancun


What is the distance between Cancun and Merida?

Cancun is 305 kilometers (189.5 miles) from Merida, and the journey takes between four and five hours, depending on how you travel and what stops you make.

What is the best way to get to Merida from Cancun?

The easiest way to get to Merida from Cancun is by bus, specifically an ADO bus. It isn’t the cheapest option, but it’s incredibly convenient, reliable, and still pretty affordable. You won’t have to worry about any of the driving, planning, or navigation. Instead, just show up at the ADO bus station with your ticket (or buy a ticket there), and wait to get on the road.

If you’re looking to have a bit more independence while in Merida or want to plan some stops along the way, renting a car may be the best way to go.

And even further, if you’re looking for the absolutely fastest route, you can consider flying. However, you’ll have to factor in travel and airport time.

Does Uber work at Cancun International Airport?

Technically, Uber is allowed at Cancun International Airport. Unfortunately, it isn’t safe or widespread enough to be reliable transportation from Cancun to Merida.

There is a lot of pushback from local taxi drivers, and some even resort to acts of violence. It’s best to completely stay away from Uber in the Riviera Maya until things have calmed down.

Is it safe to drive from Cancun to Merida?

Yes, the drive to Merida from Cancun is safe. Cancun and Merida are two important hubs in the region, and there is a ton of traffic connecting the two destinations.

Of course, you may hear of the occasional problem or holdup, but overall it’s a safe journey that is done all day, every day with no major issues.

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Discover the best way of getting from Cancun to Merida - via @clautavani

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